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House Foreign Affairs Committee Unanimously Passes Rep. Titus’s U.S.-China Science and Technology Oversight Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) released the following statement after the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which she serves as a senior member, unanimously passed her bill to create greater oversight around U.S.-China science and technology agreements.

“Today the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed my bill to increase oversight of science and technology agreements between the U.S. and China,” said Rep. Dina Titus. “Scientific and technological innovation are areas where our interests align, and we must continue our cooperation with China while enhancing oversight. Maintaining lines of communication and improving an important mechanism for diplomacy will bolster national security while ensuring our competition with China does not veer into conflict.”

Rep. Titus co-led the Science and Technology Agreement Enhanced Congressional Notification Act of 2023 with Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY). This bill would establish new oversight tools to create transparency and accountability in U.S.-China relations by enforcing congressional supervision on any scientific and technological partnership agreements between the two nations. 

The U.S. Department of State facilitates government-to-government science collaboration by establishing rules and standards on issues like intellectual property protection through nearly 60 bilateral science and technology agreements (STAs) and more than 2,000 sub-agreements currently in force. 
The engagements facilitated by these agreements provide valuable access for American scientists to foreign scientific capabilities, facilities, and expertise while also exposing other countries to American science procedures, norms, and values. The U.S.-China STA has facilitated joint research on climate, public health and other issues that have provided tangible benefits to the United States and the world. 

In 1979, the U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement became the first bilateral deal signed after the U.S. formally recognized the People’s Republic of China, giving the agreement significant symbolic import in the relationship. Since then, the agreement has been renewed approximately every five years, the last time in 2018, which involved the United States successfully amending the text to address concerns about China’s approach to intellectual property. 

The last renewal of this agreement lapsed this past summer with the Biden Administration only able to extend it by 6 months in the face of pressure from Republicans in Congress not to renew it. The U.S. and China extended the agreement for another 6 months this February in the midst of active negotiations to amend and renew the agreement.

Rep. Titus’s Science and Technology Agreement Enhanced Congressional Notification Act endorses the U.S.-China STA and requires the State Department to submit a congressional notification fifteen days before renewing the agreement, including the contents of the deal, national security concerns, how the agreement addresses human rights concerns, and evaluation and monitoring mechanisms. This would augment Congress’s oversight role over strategically crucial programs. 

The full text of the bill can be found HERE.